Dead Lines

My first book came out in December 2001, a Harlequin Duets. It got fabulous reviews and I was all aquiver with excitement. My career was off to a great start! My second book debuted in January 2002, a Berkley Seduction. It got great reviews and I still sell a couple of hundred electronic copies annually. My third, fourth, fifth, six, seventh, and eighth books were published by Harlequin Temptation. Great reviews, they’re still being reprinted in several foreign countries. So what do Harlequin Duets, Berkley Seduction, and Harlequin Temptation have in common? They’re all dead imprints (AKA ‘lines’), kicking up daisies in that great book wasteland in the sky. I don’t feel personally responsible anymore; it took several years to get over the pressing guilt, but I’ve moved on – to Harlequin Blaze (knock wood, all you Blaze writers).

You’d think my psyche would be wounded, trampled under the evil auspices of the publishing business, but ha, I’m a mother of two. My psyche is just fine, thank you very much. As an author, you have to be tough, you have to be prepared, you have to realize that too many variables are out of an author’s control. But it’s harder than you think.

When I started writing for Temptation, I didn’t believe that I could write for Blaze. I told my editor that Blazes were about nipple rings and washing-machine sex. I couldn’t write that. I write what I write what I write, and I didn’t think it was Blazey-enough. However, my editor at Harlequin had more confidence in me than me. I proposed a series, Blaze bought it, and voila, here I am with three Blazes hitting the shelves this spring, and believe it not, all the reviewers are talking about how hot and steamy they are. Which just goes to show you that there are times when you have to tell the little voice inside you to shut the heck up, and you sit down and write.

Lines or imprints will come and go. Jennifer Crusie wrote for Harlequin Temptation, Suzanne Brockmann wrote for Meteor Kismet, Nora Roberts wrote for Silhouette Intimate Moments. The lines go, the authors remain.

I’ll remain, too. I think Blaze will survive a good bit longer, and when it retires to the great book wasteland in the sky, I’ll find a new spot, because, as God as my witness, I’ll probably be dead-lined again.